University Of Tasmania
140344 - Genetic factors increasing barley grain yields under soil waterlogging.pdf (1.64 MB)

Genetic factors increasing barley grain yields under soil waterlogging

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In‐crop soil waterlogging can be caused by extreme rainfall events, high ground water tables, excessive irrigation, lateral ground water flow, either individually or in concert, and together these factors inhibit potential grain yields. However, the extent to which yield is influenced by the timing and duration of waterlogging relative to crop phenology is unknown. To investigate this, we conducted a range of waterlogging treatments on modern barley genotypes differing in their waterlogging tolerance, with tolerance conferred through aerenchyma formation under oxygen deficit conditions. Experiment 1 was conducted in a controlled environment using four waterlogging treatments: waterlogging at Zadoks stage (ZS) 12.5 for 1 or 2 months (WL1 and WL2, respectively), waterlogging at ZS 15 for 2 months (WL3), and waterlogging initiated 1 day before heading for 15 days (WL4). Experiment 2 was conducted in the field with WL2. Averaged across experiments, yield was reduced by 35% in W1 to 52% in WL3 due to fewer spikes/m2 and kernels/spike. WL4 had the greatest impact on yield (70% reduction) due to its effect on spikelet fertility and grain filling. Phenology was delayed 1-8 ZS at the end of waterlogging treatments, with the waterlogging‐susceptible cultivar Franklin showing the greatest delays, and waterlogging tolerant genotypes (Macquarie+, TAMF169) capable of aerenchyma formation under waterlogging having the least delays (0-4 ZS). Genotypes with aerenchyma formation QTL (Macquarie+) showed nonsignificant yield reduction compared with nonwaterlogged controls, preventing 23% yield loss under early phenological waterlogging stress. Late growth stage waterlogging substantially reduced average final grain yield by 70%.


Grains Research & Development Corporation


Publication title

Food and Energy Security

Article number









Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2020 the authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Terrestrial systems and management not elsewhere classified; Barley